You’re in the process of setting up your business and you want it to be successful, right? Of course! But what steps can you take to improve your chances? The answer: write a business plan.
You may think that writing a business plan is unnecessary and time-consuming, but this is untrue. A well-written and researched plan can set objectives and measurable goals, assist when seeking investment, and help to grow your startup.
To write a successful business plan, keep it concise and include the following:
1. Executive Summary
The summary sits at the beginning of your business plan and is usually 1-2 pages long. Essentially, it’s a mission statement that tells readers who your company is and what it does. It outlines the history of your business, your company’s location, and the products and services offered.
2. Market Analysis
This section looks at your industry, your company’s target market, and its competitors.
It contains competitor analysis that highlights trends, assesses strengths and weaknesses, and as such, your venture’s advantages. It’s about finding out what your competitors do and explaining how your business can do it better – this is how your company will be successful.
3. Organisation and Operation
In this part, explain company structure and how it will impact your startup.
What is the management structure? How does the team operate? How will the business function on a daily basis? And what responsibilities lie with whom?
4. Products and Services
This portion is about more than explaining what goods or services you offer – although this is important.
For success, you need to dig a little deeper. This includes any problems that your products/services solve, how you will further develop goods/services, and how they address a market need.
5. Strategies: Marketing and Sales
For any business to be successful, you need to know how to attract and retain customers. This is what a marketing and sales is all about. Explain how you will capitalise on your idea and turn it into a profitable business model. Make sure to include methods and strategies, such as social media or door-to-door marketing.
6. Financial Forecasts
Although this sits near the end of a business plan, don’t underestimate its importance – especially if you’re hoping to secure funding.
This is where you get to really sell your venture by highlighting the financial success your business is predicted to achieve over the next 5 years.
Do this through forecasting the following: balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements.
This is where you can include any relevant supporting documents, such as: credit history, references, patents, or legal info.
These are the main areas to include in your business plan. Put in the research and your business plan could help your startup be a success.